Interview Skills – From Application to Employment

The aim for most people after their education is to land a dream job. For many, the promise of an illustrious career after graduating gave fuel to their studying. As with the case of some in the past and many more these days, these dreams largely get unfulfilled. The population of people is more and the opportunities are fewer. Yet Interview skills goes beyond the primitive understanding of ‘getting a job’ as an employee. These knowledge is so broad that it includes bidding for a contract, presenting a company’s services or even campaigning to become the president of a country.

The Cycle of Getting Hired

Topics in this category:

1. Content and Preparation of Résumé, Cover letter, and Profile

2. Aptitude Test Preparation

3. Interview Day Preparation

4. The 4 Areas of an Interview

I recall a time in the past where I was largely unprepared for an interview with the company of ‘my dreams’. Till today it was both a regrettable experience and a lesson. There are many other people who may have had similar experiences; however, they may not consider it as a significant milestone in their career. Such occurrences are an ideal opportunity to learn and update oneself in terms of skills, understanding and experience.

Application Stage

Building a profile

Everything a candidate does prior to putting pen to paper is part of application stage. The knowledge, skills, experience are obtained over a period of time and a person can tailor their expertise to follow a certain career path. A person will gather skills in different areas in a bid to be considered for certain jobs or responsibilities. The application stage ends when a CV, Cover letter, Proposal or Tender document is submitted to a client.

Building a profile can be from bottom up or top down. When done from bottom up, a person focuses on their present skills and requirements in their field in developing themselves or their company. This is done where a person has an understanding of the field in question. In other cases where a person lacks the exposure in their chosen field of interest, the top down approach is better. First of all, the profile of an ideal candidate is viewed to have a grasp of what their position entails and then a person works to build an identical profile. This same approach is applied when considering getting a contract, or becoming a politician.

Applying with a document

Writing of a document to present your services is the final stage in the application stage. There are different forms of documents which have similar aim. These documents include: Résumés, Cover letters, Proposals, Tender document, Online professional profile etc. The all seek to present an ability to perform certain services to meet a client’s needs.

Some key aspects of these documents include:

  • Information
  • Credibility
  • Promise of service
  • Verification

See the following for writing: cover letters, résumés, professional profile (to be updated)

Test Preparation Stage

After an application is the test stage. The tests could be aptitude or general academic questions, but in other cases, it could be a test of a person’s technical ability through scenarios thrown at them without notice. Everything a candidate does prior to putting pen to paper is part of application stage. The knowledge, skills, experience are obtained over a period of time and a person can tailor their expertise to follow a certain career path. A person will gather skills in different areas in a bid to be considered for certain jobs or responsibilities. The testing stage ends when a test is done on paper or other means. After which a client can make a decision of further communication.

For general cadre employment positions, an aptitude test is required. This usually occurs in specialists fields were all candidates are unique to those fields. As the candidates for a position becomes broader, the typical aptitude tests will no longer be a good representation. In such cases, other means of testing is developed. A tip to know the likely questions is to search out past tests, knowledge requirements of the position, the field and contemporary challenges in general are hints as to the likely questions.

For multinational companies or companies in general for technical positions SHL and GRE questions will suffice.

See the following for aptitude tests: SHL questions free download (to be updated)

Interview Preparation Stage

Upon conclusion of a test preparation for a possible interview should commence in earnest. Preparation for an interview should be an ongoing process for life. This is because interview skills relate to interpersonal skills which is necessary for daily success. There are basically 4 areas a person requires to master to be successful in an interview.

4 Key Areas of an Interview

  • Human resource related personality questions
  • Personal qualities assess through group discussions. Assessment of assertiveness, mutual respect, focus, negotiation skills and the likes
  • Ability to understand complex information under pressure
  • Teamwork assessment

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